Business

Credit bureau now has student loan info

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 25, 2014    

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THE Students Loan Bureau (SLB) last week submitted data on loan records to Creditinfo Jamaica (CIJ), the credit reporting company has announced.

"Student Loan, after several months, has decided to approach risk management in a very serious way as implied by their submission of data to us," Camar Williams, the company's sales and marketing manager, told Sunday Finance.

"We are very excited to say the least as this move represents the start of a complete transformation for the Student Loan Bureau and by extension the credit landscape," he said.

SLB operates a revolving fund which assists with financing tuition for tertiary level students. It has a delinquency rate of 30 per cent of its overall portfolio, a challenge that has long impacted the institution, which is partly funded by tax-payers' money.

The addition of SLB's data brings CIJ's records of loan contracts to some 600,000 across 13 institutions, including NCB, Scotiabank, Sagicor Bank, Access Financial Services, Kris An Charles Investments and Singer Jamaica.

"This for us is a phenomenal achievement and we expect that institutions such as Access Financial Services will begin to declare record earnings subsequent to the utilisation of our products and services," Williams said.

CIJ recently introduced what the company calls a 'first-of-a-kind' monitoring tool to the market. According to the CIJ sales and marketing head, the product was designed to readily identify financial stress by signalling indicators and communicating these indicators to the institutions by way of electronic communication.

"The product promises to revolutionise the way in which institutions manage their portfolios," Williams said.

"With this product, we anticipate our partners will become more prudent in extending more flexible payment options and customised products to satisfy the positions of each borrower," he added.

Meanwhile, Williams also noted that Scotiabank has begun "wide scale pulling" of reports from the company "as a mandatory requisite for their risk assessment process".

"As you may imagine, this has triggered enthusiasm from not only the other commercial banks but also other entities within the financial environment who seem to benchmark some of their decisions on the activities of BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia)," he said, adding "We therefore hope that in time the consumer market will benefit from lowered fees and tailored plans as more and more institutions start to use our solution".

Creditinfo is a joint venture between local partners Coalesce Credit Solutions Ltd and Iceland-based Creditinfo Group Hf -- a leading international service provider for credit information and risk management solutions that operates in 14 countries worldwide.

It was granted a licence by the Ministry of Finance to operate a full service credit bureau in March 2012.

Credit reports are provided by Creditinfo in response to a request either by an individual or a credit-providing agency with which they are doing business and have provided consent to access their credit history.

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